There may be a stigma that workers’ compensation claims may not be genuine, which may lead to companies contesting them because they believe the injuries reported may not be actual harms suffered while on the job. A recent indication of this was revealed through a L.A. Times.com article highlighting the work comp claims of firefighters and police officers.
Essentially, there appears to be a culture of filing “excessive” workers’ compensation claims to obtain monetary relief for injuries that are not tied to their jobs. For instance, firefighters have claimed injuries maintaining equipment, preparing food and playing racquetball instead of responding to emergencies and hoisting heavy objects.
Similarly, police officers have reportedly made claims and have been compensated for sports injuries; unlike other departments that do not recognize such injuries. In fact, more than half of all police officers have filed a work comp claim in the past three years, compared with two-thirds of LA city firefighters. The work comp claims from both departments have cost the city $28 million. Further, a pair of audits found that a disproportionate amount of work comp benefits went to claimants who filed a new claim just as a previous one was ending.
While these are chronicled as excessive, there are still a number of genuine injuries that may be overlooked. In these instances, it is helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney to help you through the process. If you have questions about your rights and options after a workplace accident, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help.